Judiciary mourns the passing of its first “homegrown” justice


THE judiciary mourned on Thursday the passing of retired Associate Justice Jose Portugal Perez, who was referred to as the first “homegrown” magistrate of the Supreme Court. 

Perez’s death was confirmed by the SC-Public Information Office (PIO) but said it was not informed of the cause of his death.

He served as one of the members of the 15-man High Tribunal from December 26, 2009 until his mandatory  retirement on December 14, 2016 at age 70.  

Perez served the judiciary for a total of 45 years and worked his way up the ranks as technical assistant in 1971. 

Six years later, he became a confidential attorney in the office of the late Chief Justice Fred Ruiz Castro and in 1980 as supervising attorney in the Office of the Chief Attorney. In 1987, he was promoted as deputy clerk of court and chief of the Office of the Reporter in 1987.

Before his appointment as associate justice, Perez also served as assistant court administrator, deputy court administrator.

In 2008 he was appointed as court administrator who supervises all court operations nationwide.

Prior to his retirement, he penned several important decisions, which include the ruling that upheld the constitutionality of a provision in the Republic Act No. 9160 or the Anti-Money Laundering Act allowing the ex-parte application by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) for authority to inquire into, and examine, certain bank deposits and investments.

The decision held that Section 11 of the AMLA providing for ex-parte application and inquiry by the AMLC into certain bank deposits and investments does not violate substantive due process, there being no physical seizure of property involved at that stage.

Grace Poe case

In March 2016, Perez penned the decision which paved the way for now Senator Grace Poe to push through with her presidential bid despite questions on her nationality. 

In its ruling,  Perez’s ponencia held that Poe is presumed to be a natural-born Filipino based on circumstantial evidence and statistical probability. 

In 2014, Perez penned the Court’s decision which ordered the country’s major oil companies —  Chevron Philippines Inc., Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation, and Petron Corporation —  to relocate their Pandacan oil terminals in Manila within six months.

The SC issued the order after it declared   unconstitutional and invalid Manila City Ordinance 8187 which allows continuous operation of the Pandacan oil terminals by the country’s major oil companies.

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